Hot Air: Ksander Knews

Perhaps the voices most familiar to me, other than those of The Loved One and Sally the Dog — who never stops yapping from the moment I let her out in the back yard first thing in the AM — are Annie Corrigan, David Brent Johnson, and Yael Ksander.

And now there’ll be a lot less of Yael’s warbling to comfort me on WFIU. (Nancy Hiller describes her voice as “voluptuous.”) She’s moving on to write speeches for Lee Feinstein, the big potato over at Indiana University’s School of Global and Int’l Studies. Her last day at the NPR affiliate will be March 31st.

Too bad for us. Good for her. She’s excited about the new challenge. But dang, mang, her still-new showgram on Saturday mornings, “Café Indiana,” is some of the best stuff on the local airwaves these days. IDK what will become of the Café but w/o her, it may well sound awfully different.

In any case, Yael will continue to do her “A Moment of Science” bits. Honestly, how much science programming is there on electronic media these days? A: Next to none at all. AMOS is a treasure we need to hold onto like a stout branch in a raging flood.

Ksander And AMOS Colleague Don Glass

[Image: Hannah Sturm]

BTW: Feinstein has quite the history. He was an arms control wonk in the early ’90s when he was was hired by Bill Clinton’s Defense Dept. to work on making sure the planet didn’t blow itself up. In 1995, he moved over to the State Dept. until the end of Clinton’s term and when the incoming Bush gang made it clear that peace and nuclear-nonproliferation would be viewed as childish frivolities he went back into private wonkdom. When Barack Obama took office, he tabbed Feinstein as his Ambassador to Poland. Feinstein ditched that position in 2012 and in 2014 he came to Bloomington to become the very first Dean of the GIS outfit.


And Yael is no slouch herself. A painter who earned her MFA after studies at IU, Columbia University and the University of Virginia, she was raised in the DC area where her daddy-o, Polish émigré Yuri Ksander, eventually settled. He’d fled Poland for what was then known as Palestine just before World War II. Old Man K earned degrees in physics and electrical engineering and then worked as a geophysicist and seismologist for the United Nations in the ’50s. He moved to Washington in 1963 to work for the likes of the fabled RAND Corp. He raised a daughter whose own science chops are impeccable. She wrote and did the voiceover for the documentary Appalachian Spring (2012) about the work of biologist and bird behaviorist Ellen Ketterson. She also VO’d for the doc Rowan and the Junco (2012). Both docs came about as a result of the Ordinary Extraordinary Junco project, funded by the National Science Foundation and IU. One undergrad chum once said of Yael: “She’s incredibly well versed in so many topics — literature, art, cinema, languages — the woman is a treasure. And she even has the nerve to be humble, in an almost Diane Keaton-esque self deprecating way.”

Hell, Yael can even vamp it up as a model. Here she is Vogue-ing in a Filiz Cicek-designed look, “Bride & Groom”:

[Image: JoAnn Latvaitis]

Good luck, YK — a little bit of you on the radio is better than none at all.

2 thoughts on “Hot Air: Ksander Knews

  1. janis starcs says:

    I share your sentiments about Yael. It is a very comforting voice on the radio.


  2. Yael Ksander says:

    Thank you M. This is a compliment of the highest order. YK

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